The Capital Press and the East Oregonian during the past year have had articles on mobile slaughter trailers. As I read these articles I thought this might be the answer to the surplus wild (feral) horse problem faced by the BLM. They are presently holding 47,000 horses in corrals and feeding them at a cost to taxpayers of $50 million per year. I have advocated that these surplus animals be slaughtered and fed to the poor.
After visiting Iceland and rediscovering how savory horse meat can be and learning how nutritional it is, I propose it be marketed as a health food. These horses exist because of the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. The BLM is charged with maintaining an Appropriate Management Level which presently is 26,715 animals.
Currently it is estimated there are over 67,000 roaming the land, and they are increasing at 15 to 20 percent per year. These numbers are damaging the range, waterways, grouse habitat and are fouling remote wildlife water holes.
Those animals found to be exceeding the AML should be removed, but holding them in corrals would seemingly be violating the spirit of the Wild Free-Roaming Act. Slaughter is the only logical solution and these mobile units might be the answer.
In as much as the BLM is spending over $1,000 per horse per year it would seem they would see the value of spending the $70,000 per unit mentioned in the East Oregonian article. I could see the BLM leasing these units to enterprising individuals. I can see Oregon Food Bank utilizing one or more of these units since they are always short of meat. Doing the math, it is obvious that it will take a number of these units.
Since these animals do not receive medications they would be an excellent source of an organic health food. In a recent survey 64 percent of respondents say would not eat horse meat but this would indicate that 36 percent might. Winners would be the local fabricators who would build the units and the butcher-operators who would gain steady employment. People who would like to obtain a tasty source of a nutritionally superior meat free of additives could do so.
Those who might oppose a slaughter house in their back yard might favor horse slaughter if it was removed from their neighborhood. These units might also give the wimps in the BLM and Congress the courage to do the right thing.